QotD: on victims

Some readers may object to our use of the word “victim” as compared to “survivor”. Like Diana Russell (1986), we use “victim” in order to emphasize the victimizing situational factors impacting on the person, whether or not she or he survives, manifests good survival skills, and responds as a victor. We hope this wording will help reduce victim-blaming by increasing our appreciation of the powerful impact of situational variables on people’s psychology. Use of the word “victim” can help remind us (assuming the theory is correct) that it is the situations creating victimization that must be changed, not the victims themselves (see Caplan and Nelson 1973).

Dee Graham, Edna Rawlings & Roberta Rigsby. Loving to Survive: sexual terror, men’s violence, and women’s lives. NYU Press. July 1 1994. (p. 1)

Found at The Bewilderness

4 responses

  1. Totally agree if males do not victimise women and girls then male violence against women and girls does not exist. Being a victim does not mean the woman/girl is solely defined by this defintion, rather it means she was victimised and we know it is overwhelmingly males who are the ones victimising women and girls solely because their sex is female.

    Males have no problem claiming ‘wah I was victimised’ but males do not want women and girls to name what happened to them because if women and girls do so this means naming males as the perpetrators.

  2. I wrote about this recently. I prefer “victim,” too, as it makes sure that the victimizer isn’t excused. It’s not like I faced cancer, or some other nameless, blameless force. I suffered because of a victimizer. I was made a victim. It doesn’t mean I have to live in a state of victimhood forever, but I don’t want him to get a pass. I tried taking on the “survivor” handle, but it never felt like it fit.

  3. Thanks for your comment Femingen

  4. That’s good. It reminds me of using the active instead of passive voice with “a man raped a woman” instead of “a woman was raped.”

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